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A Beginner’s Guide to an Affordable Connectivity Program by FCC

The FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program aims to reduce the “digital divide” by making broadband Internet access more affordable for low-income individuals across America.

Under the FCC internet program, which is open to most Americans with an income at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines, any individual who would not purchase broadband service at a reasonable price without assistance can apply to receive discounted rates from participating broadband providers.

How Can You Qualify for the Program?

To receive the discounted rates, individuals must qualify for one of four income-based categories.

  • Individuals with household incomes equal to or less than 150% of the federal poverty guidelines;
  • Individuals who live in a Tribal Lands;
  • Individuals who participate in specific assistance programs such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); and
  • Individuals who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

The discounted rates are available to both individuals and families under the program.

Why Should You Choose an Affordable Connectivity Program?

Affordable Connectivity Program by FCC is the best option for low-income households looking for an internet connection. This program offers high-speed internet access at a reasonable rate compared to other providers. 

The cost of broadband service varies based on which provider you choose and your location, but participating in the FCC internet program can significantly reduce that cost.

The ACP program offers discounts on broadband service. Families and individuals must prove that they would not otherwise purchase high-speed internet access at a cost that does not exceed the poverty guidelines stated above.

How Does an Affordable Connectivity Program Work?

The FCC will pay the precise amount of your bill each month, so you’ll never have to worry about overpaying for your internet service. 

This program pays the total monthly cost of your broadband service, which means that it is an excellent deal for low-income households where at least one member has a home computer.

The FCC subsidy would be applied directly to your account, making this service significantly cheaper than what you would pay for broadband if you purchased the same package without taking advantage of ACP. 

The exact cost for using this program varies slightly based on which provider you choose and your location. You do not have to sign a contract or commit to long-term agreements. You can cancel your service at any time without penalty.

How Is the Program Different From Lifeline?

The Affordable Connectivity Program differs from Lifeline in that it pays for the total cost of your broadband service plan. In contrast, with Lifeline, you will receive a $9.25 credit each month on your wireless bill and an additional $9.25 discount on your home phone line.

Lifeline is only available to low-income households with an existing phone line or mobile device. In contrast, anyone looking for affordable internet access can use the Affordable Connectivity Program.

How Long Will the Program Last?

The Affordable Connectivity Program will continue until the FCC extends or eliminates it. The Commission’s goal is to provide internet access to as many low-income households as possible, so there are no plans to discontinue the ACP program at this time.

How to Apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program?

The first step toward applying is filling out an application on the service provider’s website. 

The form asks for personal information, including your name and date of birth, your mailing address, your social security number, and information about the members of your household.

The program also offers discounts for Tribal Lands residents, SNAP recipients, participants in the SSI program, or individuals with a household income below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

Wrapping Up

Individuals who feel that they qualify for this program should fill out an application as soon as possible. The FCC continues to take practical steps to ensure that broadband Internet access is affordable and available to the broadest possible range of Americans.

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